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166                                     THE FiH-KBSB4 SCULFTUBE.
"This base is the gift of the mendicants Snrya and Buddha-rakshita, prahita*
kas. A religions donation In perpetuity. May it be in every way a blessing to
the prahitakas" A question has been raised by Professor Kern, with reference
to another inscription, in which also a bM&shu was mentioned as a donor, on
the score that a mendicant was a very unlikely person to contribute towards
the expenses of any building, since, as he says, * monks have nothing to give
away, all to receive.' Bat in this particular instance the reading and meaning
are both unmistakeably dear, nor is the fact really at ail inconsistent with
Hindu usage. In this very district I can point to two lurge masonry tanks,
costing each some thousands of ropees, which have been constructed by men-
dicants, bairagiSj out of alms that they had in a long course of years begged for
the purpose. The word praJtifaJca, if I am right in so reading it, is of doubtful
signification. It might mean either ' messenger' or i committee-man ;} a com-
missioner or a commissionaire.
The other inscriptions haye for the most part been already noticed in the
preceding chapters, when describing £he places where they were fonnd.
As a work of art, the most pleasing specimen of sculpture is the Yasa-ditta
statue of Bnddha, noticed at page 115 ; bnt archaeologically the most curious
object in the collection is certainly the large carved block which I discovered at
Palikhera in the cold weather of 1873-74. On one side is represented a group
of six persons, the principal figure being a man of much abdominal development,
who is seated in complete nudity on a rock, or low stool, with a large cup in
in his hand. At his knee is a little child ; two attendants stand at the back ; and
ia the front two women are seen approaching, of whom the foremost bears a
cup and the second a bunch of grapes. Their dress is a long skirt with a
shorter jacket over it; shoes on the feet and a tnrban on the head. The two
cups are curiously made ; the lower end of the curved handle being attached
to the bottom of the stem instead of the bowL On the opposite side of the
block the same male figure is seen in a state of helpless intoxication, supported
on his seat from behind by two attendants, the one male, the other female.
By Ms right knee stands iihe child as before, and opposite him to the left was
apparently smother boy, of somewhat larger growth, but tiiis figure has been
much mutHated. The male attendant wears 2. mantle, fastened at the neck by
a fibula and hanging from the shoulder in yandyked folds, which are very
suggestive of late Greek design*
The stone on which these iwo groups are carved measures i&jree feet ten inches
in height, three feet in breadth and one foot four niches ia thickness, and the top